Archive for December, 2005

Quale on Ice

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

“Don’t put any ice in mine, it takes up too much room.”
— S. Quentin Quale (Groucho Marx), Go West

Using Your Noggin

Monday, December 19th, 2005

I don’t like egg nog. But it seems like everyone’s trying to get me to drink it. What do I do? — Kevin

Young fellow, the social contract has many clauses, and none of us wish to initial all of them. But we don’t get to pick and choose, and that is a fortunate thing. I might exempt myself from from such minor nuisances as “Casual Fridays” and “E-vites,” while another fellow — who wears tan chinos and blue button-down shirts and delightedly RSVPs online — feels constrained by society’s prohibitions against human trafficking and serial murder.

“Yes,” you say, “but that is a legal nicety.” Well, society is bound not just by laws, but by customs. Customs provide continuity from generation to generation. They tell us who we are, where we come from, and where we are going. Should you fill your holiday cup not with egg nog, but with “lite” beer or Coca-Cola, what would our sons and daughters think of us — and themselves? Exiled from the strong walls of history, they would wander aimlessly in the desert of not-knowingness.

The point, of course, is that society is a cooperative enterprise (how I wish my computer application allowed me to add an umlaut to that second o) and that what works for the group needs must work for the individual. The British Empire was not built without the sacrifice of eleven-year-old cabin boys, and your hostess’s party will not be a success if every guest brings their childhood dislikes to the feasting table.

So, for god and country, drink your egg nog!

Aunt Patsy on Bartenders

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

“I’m going down to the bar and see Joe. Bartender or no bartender, he’s still a man.”
— Aunt Patsy (Cecil Cunningham), The Awful Truth

Lads Will Be Boyos

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

Can’t they just get box seats?